Long-time Portage County residents compete for retiring judge’s position

Rebekah Maple

Winner will oversee Ravenna courtroom

David Brode, Mark Fankhauser and William Nome are the three candidates running for Portage County Municipal Court Judge for the term beginning Jan. 2, 2010. Retiring Judge Barbara Watson, who currently oversees courtroom B in Ravenna, will leave the position vacant.

David Brode

Portage County municipal judge candidate, term beginning Jan. 2, 2010

David Brode is a 52-year-old lifelong Portage County resident. He said he believes the position of judge should be given to someone with significant experience and who is not involved in politics.

Brode graduated from Kent State twice, receiving both his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in business administration. He received his law degree from the University of Akron School of Law.

He began his legal career in 1991 as common pleas court magistrate and continued for 11 years. There, he said, he heard and decided thousands of cases. He has served seven years as the current Portage County assistant prosecutor.

Brode said he is the most experienced candidate and is the only candidate who is not a “political insider.”

“It is my firm belief that the position of judge demands someone who is independent from politics, is not a political insider and who owes allegiance to nobody,” he said. “People are going to be treated exactly the same.”

William Nome

Portage County municipal judge candidate, term beginning Jan. 2, 2010

William Nome has been a Portage County resident for 29 years. His legal career began in law school where he worked in the prosecutor’s office doing research. He said he believes he has the experience in the courtroom to make a great judge.

Nome graduated from the University of Akron with his bachelor’s degree and received his law degree from the Cleveland-Marshall College of Law.

He worked as an assistant prosecuting attorney in municipal court and then had his own practice in Ravenna for 28 years. In 2005, he was appointed municipal court judge, where he said he reduced the number of pending cases by 63 percent.

He has been an acting judge since 2005, so he fills in when other judges are continuing their education, away at a seminar or on vacation.

“I know I can run a good court and get rid of unnecessary delays,” Nome said. “I can give people what they want, which is a fair trial in a timely fashion.”

Mark Fankhauser

Portage County municipal judge candidate, term beginning Jan. 2, 2010

Mark Fankhauser is a lifelong Portage County resident, and he lives in Kent. He said he chose to run in this election to make a difference.

He graduated from Kent State in 1992 with a bachelor’s degree and received his law degree from the University of Akron School of Law in 1998.

He said he has handled more than 3,900 cases in the Portage County courts in the last 11 years as a private practice attorney, and more than 1,800 of them were seen in the Portage County Municipal Court.

Fankhauser said he volunteers a lot of his time to the community. He served the Board of Directors for the American Red Cross in Portage County. He is also a Special Olympics volunteer and a legal aide volunteer.

“You want a judge who is going to be fair and impartial and respect the people that come before him,” he said. “You want someone who has honesty, integrity and knowledge of the law, and I feel like I can bring that to the bench.”

Contact public affairs reporter Rebekah Maple at [email protected]